29Closing Observations

Wu C.

Publication Details

I would like to congratulate all the participants for this very successful and thoughtful symposium. I do not think I can do it justice by trying to recap the discussion from the symposium—the vast issues being explored and the different opinions being expressed. As mentioned by Dan Drell, our sponsor from the Department of Energy, this symposium is quite critical and timely, in light of the tsunami of data and information we are witnessing.

We certainly do need to address all these issues concerning the barriers and challenges in the different scientific, technical, institutional, legal, economic, and sociocultural areas due to the increasing rate of the data flood. We also have heard many presentations about the opportunities for new research and discoveries because of this wealth of data and digital resources.

Some of the issues brought forth in this symposium may lead to additional studies. For example, how do we characterize knowledge? How do we better understand knowledge structures? How do we study the perceived value of knowledge? These and other questions have legal, economic, and governance implications.

What about training? There was some discussion about training data scientists. And what about open source software in this integrated research commons with open data, publications, and materials? What is the role of the software tools?

Many of these discussions are relevant to scientific disciplines beyond biology, and the issues discussed at this symposium will be shared with the Board on Research Data and Information. They will also no doubt be considered within your respective communities. I think this symposium has really planted seeds for many more interesting and useful things to come and will inspire new discussions and approaches.